In “Back to the Future Part II,” Marty McFly travels far into the future to find a family that uses flying cars and self-lacing shoes. That faraway future date? 2015! Now that 2015 has actually arrived, we can look around our homes and see that no, we do not have hover boards and “hydrators” to make pizzas.

But features that make a “smart home” are on the rise, with a growing number of consumers interested in adding features to their homes that increase security, lower energy use, and hopefully, make lives more convenient. According to an estimate by BI Intelligence, there are 1.9 billion smart home devices today, and there could be 9 billion by 2018, while another research firm predicts that that the smart home market will reach $71 billion by 2018, up from $33 billion in 2013 and $25 billion in 2012.

Industry experts foresee a time when we will connect our home appliances, garages, lights and locks with the touch of a button on our smart phones. Imagine turning on your oven, receiving an alert that you are out of milk, opening your garage, “flipping” the lights, and turning up the thermostat with a quick look at your smart phone before you leave the office!

Homeowners can buy products they are interested in, download the appropriate app, and set them up themselves, purchase a “hub” like Wink to manage all the connected devices, or hire a company that will install an entire home system.

In 2015, there are several products on the market that will make your home “smarter” and modern. Here’s a roundup of some technology on the market to create a smart home of your own:

  • Appliances – Manufacturers such as LG are now adding features on 2014 models that will allow you to text your oven, robot vacuum, refrigerator, or washing machine in regular language to check on food supplies, update a washer cycle, clean the carpet, or let the appliances know you’re out of town.
  • Thermostats – Thermostats such as the Nest claim to learn your schedule in about a week and programs itself to control the temperature with no work from you. You can also adjust temps from your smart phone. Nest proponents say that 4 out of 5 can install this device in 30 minutes or less, and that it will save up to 20 percent on your utility bills.
  • Garage Door openers -- Forget trying to hunt for your opener in your dark car. You can buy an opener that allows you to tap your device’s screen to open and close your door from anywhere. Some manufacturers plan to add the capability for the opener to sense when you’re near your driveway and open on its own, and then close when you’re safely inside.
  • Video monitors -- Want to check on your living room while you’re at dinner with friends? Video monitors placed in your house allow you to go online or to an app to get a live look-in any time you like.
  • Light Bulbs – There are now options for lighting such as LED lights that communicate over Wi-Fi so you can control them with an app. You can turn them off and on, change their brightness and create automatic settings.
  • Entry systems – No more digging in your purse for your house key. Doorknobs and locks on the market now allow you to simply touch the knob with your finger to unlock or lock a regular-looking door bolt. You can also monitor who is coming and going and receive activity alerts with the app.
  • Humidity and water sensors – Want to avoid a water leak or a moisture leak that causes mold and mildew? Now, homeowners can install sensors that will activate a ventilation fan once a room reaches a previously-set humidity level. Another sensor device allows you to place sensors in places like sinks and toilets if any water drips, the information is sent to the hub, which alerts the homeowner. The app also allows you to see temperature and humidity in all those areas.

Undoubtedly, the number of products that we can use to automate our homes will keep on increasing to allow features and conveniences that we can’t even imagine. Who knows what kind of house Marty McFly would have found by 2030? Consider taking the plunge and adding some technology to make your home the smartest on the block.

If you’re considering buying a new home or selling your current one, I would be more than happy to help you. Don’t hesitate to contact me at (630)715-1887.